As Jesus approached Jericho
a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging,
and hearing a crowd going by, he inquired what was happening.
They told him,
“Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.”
He shouted, “Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me!”
The people walking in front rebuked him,
telling him to be silent,
but he kept calling out all the more,
“Son of David, have pity on me!”
Then Jesus stopped and ordered that he be brought to him;
and when he came near, Jesus asked him,
“What do you want me to do for you?”
He replied, “Lord, please let me see.”
Jesus told him, “Have sight; your faith has saved you.”
He immediately received his sight
and followed him, giving glory to God.
When they saw this, all the people gave praise to God.
18:35–43. The blind man of Jericho is quick to use the opportunity presented by Christ’s presence. We should not neglect the Lord’s graces, for we do not know whether he will offer them to us again. St Augustine described very succinctly the urgency with which we should respond to God’s gift, to his passing us on the road: “Timeo Jesum praetereuntem et non redeuntem: I fear Jesus may pass by and not come back.” For, at least on some occasion, in some way, Jesus passes close to everyone.
The blind man of Jericho acclaims Jesus as the Messiah—he gives him the messianic title of Son of David—and asks him to meet his need, to make him see. His is an active faith; he shouts out, he persists, despite the people getting in his way. And he manages to get Jesus to hear him and call him. God wanted this episode to be recorded in the Gospel, to teach us how we should believe and how we should pray—with conviction, with urgency, with constancy, in spite of the obstacles, with simplicity, until we manage to get Jesus to listen to us.
“Lord, let me receive my sight”: this simple ejaculatory prayer should be often on our lips, flowing from the depths of our heart. It is a very good prayer to use in moments of doubt and vacillation, when we cannot understand the reason behind God’s plans, when the horizon of our commitment becomes clouded. It is even a good prayer for people who are sincerely trying to find God but who do not yet have the great gift of faith.
Friends, today in the Gospel passage we see Jesus’ mercy toward the blind man as a hallmark of his ministry. Jesus comes as healer, savior, inaugurator of the kingdom. He is the embodiment of hope. Jesus wanted to connect human suffering to the very source of life and health. The energy of God pours through him to the needy.
Now I realize a question may be forming in your mind: “Well, why doesn’t he simply cure everyone, then?” The answer is obviously wrapped up in the mystery of God’s will, but the important point is this: Jesus is healer in many senses, but ultimately in the sense that he heals us from sin and death, not only physical maladies. What appears historically in Jesus is an eschatological anticipation, a hint and foreshadowing of what is coming in God’s time and in God’s way.
– Bishop Robert Barron
May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.